Mutations in the neuronal protein α-synuclein cause familial Parkinson disease. Phosphorylation of α-synuclein at serine 129 is prominent in Parkinson disease and influences α-synuclein neurotoxicity. Here we report that α-synuclein is also phosphorylated at tyrosine 125 in transgenic Drosophila expressing wild-type human α-synuclein and that this tyrosine phosphorylation protects from α-synuclein neurotoxicity in a Drosophila model of Parkinson disease. Western blot analysis of fly brain homogenates showed that levels of soluble oligomeric species of α-synuclein were increased by phosphorylation at serine 129 and decreased by tyrosine 125 phosphorylation. Tyrosine 125 phosphorylation diminished during the normal aging process in both humans and flies. Notably, cortical tissue from patients with the Parkinson disease–related synucleinopathy dementia with Lewy bodies showed less phosphorylation at tyrosine 125. Our findings suggest that α-synuclein neurotoxicity in Parkinson disease and related synucleinopathies may result from an imbalance between the detrimental, oligomer-promoting effect of serine 129 phosphorylation and a neuroprotective action of tyrosine 125 phosphorylation that inhibits toxic oligomer formation.
Li Chen, Magali Periquet, Xu Wang, Alessandro Negro, Pamela J. McLean, Bradley T. Hyman, Mel B. Feany
Our aging society is confronted with a dramatic increase of patients suffering from tauopathies, which include Alzheimer disease and certain frontotemporal dementias. These disorders are characterized by typical neuropathological lesions including hyperphosphorylation and subsequent aggregation of TAU protein and neuronal cell death. Currently, no mechanism-based cures are available. We generated fluorescently labeled TAU transgenic zebrafish, which rapidly recapitulated key pathological features of tauopathies, including phosphorylation and conformational changes of human TAU protein, tangle formation, neuronal and behavioral disturbances, and cell death. Due to their optical transparency and small size, zebrafish larvae are well suited for both in vivo imaging and drug development. TAU-induced neuronal cell death was imaged by time-lapse microscopy in vivo. Furthermore, we used this zebrafish model to identify compounds targeting the TAU kinase glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β). We identified a newly developed highly active GSK3β inhibitor, AR-534, by rational drug design. AR-534 reduced TAU phosphorylation in TAU transgenic zebrafish. This transgenic zebrafish model may become a valuable tool for further studies of the neuropathology of dementia.
Dominik Paquet, Ratan Bhat, Astrid Sydow, Eva-Maria Mandelkow, Stefan Berg, Sven Hellberg, Johanna Fälting, Martin Distel, Reinhard W. Köster, Bettina Schmid, Christian Haass
Neuropathy and myopathy can cause weakness during critical illness. To determine whether reduced excitability of peripheral nerves, rather than degeneration, is the mechanism underlying acute neuropathy in critically ill patients, we prospectively followed patients during the acute phase of critical illness and early recovery and assessed nerve conduction. During the period of early recovery from critical illness, patients recovered from neuropathy within days. This rapidly reversible neuropathy has not to our knowledge been previously described in critically ill patients and may be a novel type of neuropathy. In vivo intracellular recordings from dorsal root axons in septic rats revealed reduced action potential amplitude, demonstrating that reduced excitability of nerve was the mechanism underlying neuropathy. When action potentials were triggered by hyperpolarizing pulses, their amplitudes largely recovered, indicating that inactivation of sodium channels was an important contributor to reduced excitability. There was no depolarization of axon resting potential in septic rats, which ruled out a contribution of resting potential to the increased inactivation of sodium channels. Our data suggest that a hyperpolarized shift in the voltage dependence of sodium channel inactivation causes increased sodium inactivation and reduced excitability. Acquired sodium channelopathy may be the mechanism underlying acute neuropathy in critically ill patients.
Kevin R. Novak, Paul Nardelli, Tim C. Cope, Gregory Filatov, Jonathan D. Glass, Jaffar Khan, Mark M. Rich
Long-term neurological deficiencies resulting from hippocampal cytotoxicity induced by cranial irradiation (IR) present a challenge in the treatment of primary and metastatic brain cancers, especially in children. Previously, we showed that lithium protected hippocampal neurons from IR-induced apoptosis and improved neurocognitive function in treated mice. Here, we demonstrate accelerated repair of IR-induced chromosomal double-strand breaks (DSBs) in lithium-treated neurons. Lithium treatment not only increased IR-induced DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) threonine 2609 foci, a surrogate marker for activated nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) repair, but also enhanced double-strand DNA end-rejoining activity in hippocampal neurons. The increased NHEJ repair coincided with reduced numbers of IR-induced γ-H2AX foci, well-characterized in situ markers of DSBs. These findings were confirmed in vivo in irradiated mice. Consistent with a role of NHEJ repair in lithium-mediated neuroprotection, attenuation of IR-induced apoptosis of hippocampal neurons by lithium was dramatically abrogated when DNA-PK function was abolished genetically in SCID mice or inhibited biochemically by the DNA-PK inhibitor IC86621. Importantly, none of these findings were evident in glioma cancer cells. These results support our hypothesis that lithium protects hippocampal neurons by promoting the NHEJ repair–mediated DNA repair pathway and warrant future investigation of lithium-mediated neuroprotection during cranial IR, especially in the pediatric population.
Eddy S. Yang, Hong Wang, Guochun Jiang, Somaira Nowsheen, Allie Fu, Dennis E. Hallahan, Fen Xia
Dominika Labuz, Yvonne Schmidt, Anja Schreiter, Heike L. Rittner, Shaaban A. Mousa, Halina Machelska
Anti-GM1 ganglioside autoantibodies are used as diagnostic markers for motor axonal peripheral neuropathies and are believed to be the primary mediators of such diseases. However, their ability to bind and exert pathogenic effects at neuronal membranes is highly inconsistent. Using human and mouse monoclonal anti-GM1 antibodies to probe the GM1-rich motor nerve terminal membrane in mice, we here show that the antigenic oligosaccharide of GM1 in the live plasma membrane is cryptic, hidden on surface domains that become buried for a proportion of anti-GM1 antibodies due to a masking effect of neighboring gangliosides. The cryptic GM1 binding domain was exposed by sialidase treatment that liberated sialic acid from masking gangliosides including GD1a or by disruption of the live membrane by freezing or fixation. This cryptic behavior was also recapitulated in solid-phase immunoassays. These data show that certain anti-GM1 antibodies exert potent complement activation-mediated neuropathogenic effects, including morphological damage at living terminal motor axons, leading to a block of synaptic transmission. This occurred only when GM1 was topologically available for antibody binding, but not when GM1 was cryptic. This revised understanding of the complexities in ganglioside membrane topology provides a mechanistic account for wide variations in the neuropathic potential of anti-GM1 antibodies.
Kay N. Greenshields, Susan K. Halstead, Femke M.P. Zitman, Simon Rinaldi, Kathryn M. Brennan, Colin O’Leary, Luke H. Chamberlain, Alistair Easton, Jennifer Roxburgh, John Pediani, Koichi Furukawa, Keiko Furukawa, Carl S. Goodyear, Jaap J. Plomp, Hugh J. Willison
Pain after nerve injury, a phenomenon referred to as neuropathic pain, is a debilitating clinical condition, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. As leptin, an adipocytokine produced mainly by nonneuronal tissue, has been implicated in the regulation of neuronal functions, we examined the role of leptin in neuropathic pain using a rat model of the condition chronic constriction sciatic nerve injury (CCI). We report that leptin critically contributed to pain behaviors following CCI. Specifically, spinal administration of a leptin antagonist prevented and reversed neuropathic pain behaviors in rats. Further examination revealed that levels of both leptin and the long form of the leptin receptor (Ob-Rb) were substantially increased within the ipsilateral spinal cord dorsal horn after peripheral nerve injury. Mechanistic studies showed that leptin upregulated the expression of both the spinal NMDA receptor and IL-1β through the JAK/STAT pathway. Furthermore, these CCI-induced behavioral and cellular responses were diminished in leptin-deficient mice and mimicked by spinal administration of exogenous leptin in naive rats. Our findings reveal a critical role for spinal leptin in the pathogenesis of neuropathic pain and suggest what we believe to be a novel form of nonneuronal and neuronal interactions in the mechanisms of pathological pain.
Grewo Lim, Shuxing Wang, Yi Zhang, Yinghong Tian, Jianren Mao
The analgesic effects of leukocyte-derived opioids have been exclusively demonstrated for somatic inflammatory pain, for example, the pain associated with surgery and arthritis. Neuropathic pain results from injury to nerves, is often resistant to current treatments, and can seriously impair a patient’s quality of life. Although it has been recognized that neuronal damage can involve inflammation, it is generally assumed that immune cells act predominately as generators of neuropathic pain. However, in this study we have demonstrated that leukocytes containing opioids are essential regulators of pain in a mouse model of neuropathy. About 30%–40% of immune cells that accumulated at injured nerves expressed opioid peptides such as β-endorphin, Met-enkephalin, and dynorphin A. Selective stimulation of these cells by local application of corticotropin-releasing factor led to opioid peptide–mediated activation of opioid receptors in damaged nerves. This ultimately abolished tactile allodynia, a highly debilitating heightened response to normally innocuous mechanical stimuli, which is symptomatic of neuropathy. Our findings suggest that selective targeting of opioid-containing immune cells promotes endogenous pain control and offers novel opportunities for management of painful neuropathies.
Dominika Labuz, Yvonne Schmidt, Anja Schreiter, Heike L. Rittner, Shaaban A. Mousa, Halina Machelska
A cardinal feature of peripheral inflammation is pain. The most common way of managing inflammatory pain is to use nonsteroidal antiinflammatory agents (NSAIDs) that reduce prostanoid production, for example, selective inhibitors of COX2. Prostaglandins produced after induction of COX2 in immune cells in inflamed tissue contribute both to the inflammation itself and to pain hypersensitivity, acting on peripheral terminals of nociceptors. COX2 is also induced after peripheral inflammation in neurons in the CNS, where it aids in developing a central component of inflammatory pain hypersensitivity by increasing neuronal excitation and reducing inhibition. We engineered mice with conditional deletion of Cox2 in neurons and glial cells to determine the relative contribution of peripheral and central COX2 to inflammatory pain hypersensitivity. In these mice, basal nociceptive pain was unchanged, as was the extent of peripheral inflammation, inflammatory thermal pain hypersensitivity, and fever induced by lipopolysaccharide. By contrast, peripheral inflammation–induced COX2 expression in the spinal cord was reduced, and mechanical hypersensitivity after both peripheral soft tissue and periarticular inflammation was abolished. Mechanical pain is a major symptom of most inflammatory conditions, such as postoperative pain and arthritis, and induction of COX2 in neural cells in the CNS seems to contribute to this.
Daniel Vardeh, Dairong Wang, Michael Costigan, Michael Lazarus, Clifford B. Saper, Clifford J. Woolf, Garret A. FitzGerald, Tarek A. Samad
Vertebrate cells require a very narrow pH range for survival. Cells accordingly possess sensory and defense mechanisms for situations where the pH deviates from the viable range. Although the monitoring of acidic pH by sensory neurons has been attributed to several ion channels, including transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 channel (TRPV1) and acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs), the mechanisms by which these cells detect alkaline pH are not well understood. Here, using Ca2+ imaging and patch-clamp recording, we showed that alkaline pH activated transient receptor potential cation channel, subfamily A, member 1 (TRPA1) and that activation of this ion channel was involved in nociception. In addition, intracellular alkalization activated TRPA1 at the whole-cell level, and single-channel openings were observed in the inside-out configuration, indicating that alkaline pH activated TRPA1 from the inside. Analyses of mutants suggested that the two N-terminal cysteine residues in TRPA1 were involved in activation by intracellular alkalization. Furthermore, intraplantar injection of ammonium chloride into the mouse hind paw caused pain-related behaviors that were not observed in TRPA1-deficient mice. These results suggest that alkaline pH causes pain sensation through activation of TRPA1 and may provide a molecular explanation for some of the human alkaline pH–related sensory disorders whose mechanisms are largely unknown.
Fumitaka Fujita, Kunitoshi Uchida, Tomoko Moriyama, Asako Shima, Koji Shibasaki, Hitoshi Inada, Takaaki Sokabe, Makoto Tominaga